• Sat. Jan 28th, 2023

Sheikh Rashid, nephew acquitted in Masjid-e-Nabawi blasphemy case

Awami Muslim League (AML) chief Sheikh Rashid (L) and his nephew Sheikh Rashid Shafique. — Screengrab/Twitter
Awami Muslim League (AML) chief Sheikh Rashid (L) and his nephew Sheikh Rashid Shafique. — Screengrab/Twitter
  • Judicial Magistrate Attock Mohammad Arif announces verdict.
  • Both leaders were booked for hooliganism at Masjid-e-Nabawi (PBUH).
  • Blasphemy case was registered against Sheikh Rashid.

ATTOCK: A local court acquitted Awami Muslim League (AML) chief Sheikh Rashid Ahmed and his nephew Sheikh Rashid Shafiq in the blasphemy case filed against them for their involvement in the Masjid-e-Nabawi (PBUH) incident.

Judicial Magistrate Attock Mohammad Arif announced the verdict today. Both leaders were booked for hooliganism at Masjid-e-Nabawi (PBUH). 

A case of blasphemy was registered against the former interior minister at the Attock’s New Airport Police Station . 

The incident

On April 28, 2022, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his delegation had reached Saudi Arabia for a three-day official visit at the invitation of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz.

Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, Finance Minister Miftah Ismail, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb, Shahzain Bugti, Mohsin Dawar, Khalid Maqbool Siddiqi, Chaudhry Salik, and four members of PM Shehbaz’s staff were accompanying him during the visit.

But as Marriyum Aurangzeb and Shahzain Bugti arrived at the mosque, the protesters started chanting slogans of “chor, chor (thieves)” when they saw the premier and harassed and raised objectionable slogans.

The protesters had also misbehaved with the Jamhoori Wattan Party (JWP) chief Shahzain Bugti and pulled his hair.

The protesters continued to film the entire episode with their mobile phones.

Following the incident, political and religious leaders and people belonging to different sections of the society expressed their outrage at the incident and strictly condemned the chanting of political slogans at the Masjid-e-Nabawi.

Sheikh Rasheed’s nephew arrested

Shafique was arrested at the Islamabad airport upon his arrival from Saudi Arabia in connection with the incident of slogan chanting.

Rashid confirmed his nephew’s arrest, saying that he had just landed in Pakistan after performing Umrah when he was arrested.

“None of us were in Saudi Arabia, but cases were still registered [against us]. Residences are being raided after the registration of the cases,” Rashid said.

On the night following the Masjid-e-Nabawi incident, Shafiq had posted a video from the holy site, supporting the hooliganism.

He had also hinted that the same would happen to the delegation when they visit the Holy Kaaba in Makkah.

Leaders booked

Several leaders including former prime minister Imran Khan were among around 150 people who were booked in the case. 

The case was registered against the suspects at the Madina Town Police Station in Faisalabad on the complaint of a citizen named Muhammad Naeem.

Those nominated in the case include former information minister Fawad Chaudhry, ex-special assistant to the prime minister for political communication Dr Shahbaz Gill, National Assembly former deputy speaker Qasim Khan Suri, MNA Sheikh Rashid Shafique, Aneel Mussarat, a British-Pakistani businessman, and others.

Referring to the statements of Sheikh Rashid and Rashid Shafique, the complainant said that the incident took place under a premeditated conspiracy. 

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